Reviews

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Aachi-wa & Ssipak

Director: Jo Beom-jin
Writers: Jo Beom-jin and Yeon-won Jeong
Starring: (voices of) Chang Jung Lim, Seung-wan Ryoo, Yeong Hyeon, Gyu-hwa Lee, Gyu-hyeong Lee, In-yong Oh
MPAA Rating: NR
Running time: 90 min
Country of Origin: S. Korea
read my spoiler disclaimer



reviewed by Andrew James
at Toronto After Dark Festival

     Animation is not my thing. Never has been, probably never will be. So walking into a Korean, animated special I had some trepidations; nay fear, that I was going to be falling asleep as I was in this year's critically acclaimed and popular, Paprika. Thankfully, this movie was way too much fun and way to packed with crazy action scenes and other movie references to be a let down.

      The premise, as crazy as it sounds, is as follows. The year is... well, the future. The world has exhausted all of its usual natural resources. So now, the only way to keep the power on is converting human excrement (shit) into energy. Everyone is rewarded for their "deposit" each time with a little blue popsicle called "Juicybars." The bars are highly addictive though and thus a gang is soon formed of Juicybar addicted mutants, known as the "Diaper Gang." They hijack loads of Juicybars and kill whoever they can to get their hands on these addictive treats. The cops (including one supercop - ala Robocop) do what they can to curb the violence.

      Enter Aachi & Ssipak; two young punks trying to struggle to get Juicybars for themselves. When circumstances bring them into the criminal underworld, they must find a way to get even more Juicybars than they can handle. This plot goes on and on and there are plenty of ins and outs to the story, but to try and go on would be futile. Needless to say it's weird... but loads of fun!

      The opening sequence, which thrusts the audience into the picture immediately, is full of fast moving "camera" tracking and panning shots. As hundreds from the Diaper Gang attacks a Juicybar convoy at highly intense speeds, a supercop steps in to manage the problem. The scene is quick-paced and action packed. Hundred of guns blazing and unique character movements really brought this scene to life, and as I said, sucks the audience in immediately.

      The dialogue is uncharacteristic of most films. Besides the obviously strange script regarding anus rings and constantly talking about taking dumps, there are plenty of other jokes throughout that had me in stitches. At one point, as the two main characters are having an argument, one remarks to the other that he is "the worst character in this movie." Plenty of other unexpected one-liners and visual gags are employed throughout the picture as well.

      The biggest treat in Achi and Ssipak though, are the countless pop-culture references. Most of them aren't obscure and a general movie going audience should pick up on most of them. Lines and scenes from several movies are "stolen" or alluded to. From Basic Instinct to Robocop and Misery, to an extended sequence in mining cars over molten lava that exaggerates, nearly shot for shot, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. All of these moments were crowd pleasers and though I lost count on the number of these references, I'm sure to pick up even more on subsequent viewings.

      Aachi and Ssipak was a very pleasant surprise that will still work with multiple viewings and can definitely please a western audience. It was loaded with gun play and action sequences that were both intense and quite funny much of the time. It's already available on DVD and worth checking out. Find it today if you can - especially if you're an animation fan. Since I am not (usually the Asian-style animation makes me cringe all over almost immediately), me giving this film high praise really says something great about the production. I'm pretty sure you'll this and will probably think about it each time you sit down on the toilet and wonder if you're being anally tracked.

Press "PLAY" to watch the trailer


Links:
IMDb.com - full cast and crew
Official Site
FLIXSTER profile for Achi-wa ssipak







andrew@moviepatron.com
Posted by Andrew James in
Review

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